Graduation Requirements

  • The requirements for a student to earn a diploma and graduate from a Virginia high school shall be those in effect when that student enters the ninth grade for the first time. Students shall be awarded a diploma upon graduation from a Virginia high school.

    Both the Standard Diploma and the Advanced Studies Diploma shall provide multiple pathways toward college, career, and citizenship readiness for students to follow in the later years of high school. Each pathway shall provide meaningful and rigorous opportunities tied to instruction to achieve workplace and citizenship skills through experiences such as internships, externships, credentialing, and blended learning, which may be offered for credit toward high school graduation.

    In accordance with the Profile of a Virginia Graduate approved by the instructional program leading to a Standard Diploma or Advanced Studies Diploma shall ensure that students:

    • attain the knowledge, skills, competencies, and experiences necessary to be successful in the evolving global economy whether immediately entering the world of work or pursuing postsecondary education, and 
    • acquire and be able to demonstrate foundational skills in critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration, communication, and citizenship.

    When students below the ninth grade successfully complete courses offered for credit in grades 9 through 12, credit shall be counted toward meeting the standard units required for graduation provided the courses are equivalent in content and academic rigor to those courses offered at the secondary level. To earn a verified unit of credit for these courses, students must meet the requirements outlined in Standard and Verified Credits see below.

    Requirements for a Standard Diploma

    Required credits for graduation with a Standard Diploma.

    • A "standard unit of credit" is a credit awarded for a course in which the student successfully completes 140 clock hours of instruction and the requirements of the course. In accordance with school board guidelines, alternatives to the requirement for 140 clock hours of instruction may include earning a “verified unit of credit."
    • A "verified unit of credit" is a credit awarded for a course in which a student earns a standard unit of credit and (i) achieves a passing score on a corresponding end-of-course SOL test; (ii) achieves a passing score on an additional test, as defined in as part of the Virginia Assessment Program; (iii) meets the criteria for the receipt of a locally awarded verified credit conferred in accordance with board criteria and guidelines when the student has not passed a corresponding SOL test in English, mathematics, laboratory science, or history and social science; or (iv) meets the criteria for the receipt of a verified credit for English (writing) by demonstrating mastery of the content of the associated course on authentic performance assessments.

     

  • In accordance with the Standards of Quality, students shall:

    • Advanced Placement, Honors, or Career and Technical Education Credential
      • complete an Advanced Placement, honors, or dual enrollment course
      • complete a high-quality work-based learning experience, as established by board guidance on work-based learning; or
      • earn a career and technical education credential approved by the board, except when a career and technical education credential in a particular subject area is not readily available or appropriate or does not adequately measure student competency, in which case the student shall receive satisfactory competency-based instruction in the subject area to satisfy the standard diploma requirements. The career and technical education credential, when required, could include the successful completion of an industry certification, a state licensure examination, a national occupational competency assessment, or the Virginia workplace readiness assessment.
    • Virtual Course
      • Students shall successfully complete one virtual course, which may be a non-credit-bearing course or a required or elective credit-bearing course that is offered online.
    • Training in emergency first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and the use of automated external defibrillators (AED)
      • Students shall be trained in emergency first aid, CPR, and the use of AED, including hands-on practice of the skills necessary to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Students with an individualized education plan (IEP) or 504 Plan that documents that they cannot successfully complete this training shall be granted a waiver from this graduation requirement.
    • Demonstration of the Five Cs
      • Students shall acquire and demonstrate foundational skills in critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration, communication, and citizenship in accordance with the Profile of a Virginia Graduate approved by the board.

    Requirements for an Advanced Studies Diploma

    To graduate with an Advanced Studies Diploma, a student must earn at least 26 standard units of credit and five verified units of credit. Students earn standard credits by successfully completing required and elective courses. Students earn verified credits by successfully completing required courses and passing associated end-of-course SOL tests or other assessments approved by the state Board of Education.